Fire brigade personnel saved a young horse after it became trapped in a muddy ditch yesterday afternoon however the animal had to be put down later.
The alarm was raised at around 1.45pm when a child in a passing car saw the animal trapped up to its neck in mud on land next to N85 ring road in Ennis, Co Clare.
The child’s mother turned her car around and returned to the scene where they found that two foals had fallen into the stream. The alarm was raised and Gardaí were first to arrive at the scene.
Two units of the fire brigade and the ISPCA animal welfare inspector for Clare were also alerted.
While the second frightened horse managed to escape from the river the other animal was left badly trapped and is thought to have been there for some time. The foal fought to escape from the mud but was left exhausted.
On arrival at the scene, fire brigade personnel could hardly see the animal in the river because it was trapped so deep with just it’s head partly visible.
Fire crews manage to lift the exhausted animal from the mud and haul it onto the bank.
Animal welfare officer Mr Frankie Coote tried to coax the animal away from the muddy river in case it became trapped again.
With no success getting the foal back on his feet and concerned for the animals apparent poor condition, Mr Coote had to seek assistance from a local veterinary surgeon.
By now, dozens of motorists and other passers-by had stopped to view the rescue operation. Some younger children were clearly upset by what they saw before them but were comforted by parents.
One local man said: “You’d have to wonder why animals would be left like that in an area where they have nothing to feed on. Is it any wonder it got trapped in the mud, it was probably looking for food and sure there’s none there.”
“A lot of that scrub is even poisonous. You’d wonder what their owners were thinking,” he added.
Mr Coote and a local vet spent over two hours trying to help the foal get to it’s feet however, on closer examination it was established that the animal was too badly injured and had to be put down.
Late last month a young horse had to be put down after it was apparently dumped on the side of the road a short distance from the scene of yesterday’s incident.
Mr Coote has previously warned about the increasing problem of horse neglect and cruelty in the Ennis area.